Plenary speakers

Tessza Udvarhelyi

activist and educator, co-founder of The City is for All grassroots housing advocacy group
PhD in environmental psychology, City University of New York

Tessza Udvarhelyi is a long-time activist and educator. She is the director of the School of Public Life, a citizenship school based in Budapest, Hungary. In 2009, she co-founded The City is for All, the only grassroots housing advocacy group in Hungary. Tessza completed her PhD in environmental psychology at the City University of New York. Her dissertation – based partly on a participatory action research with homeless people – was about the responses of the state and grassroots movements to the housing crisis in Hungary. Tessza has extensive experience in nonformal and formal education in the fields of intercultural communications and urban studies. In 2016 Tessza was selected as the 36th Hungarian Ashoka fellow for her work with Hungarian social movements.

Zóra Molnár

coordinator, ’Living Independently In a Community’

Zóra Molnár is the coordinator of the ’Living Independently In a Community’advocacy group, which is made up of people with physical disabilities and their allies. Their main goal is to develop the conditions of independent housing and autonomous living for our community.

Tom Wakeford 
ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration)

What does it mean to do “living knowledge” in practice? How can professional researchers work in solidarity with those whose expertise comes from their life experience, rather than from a scientific training? Do people have the right to say “no” to the development of a particular technology or even a whole area of science? These questions have pre-occupied me since I began the transition from being an ecological researcher to a participatory worker twenty five years ago. As a heterosexual middle-class man, steeped in the culture of a Western university, I am aware that my perspective on the world is partial. I have been lucky enough to be able to work with a diverse range of individuals and groups based outside and inside universities. I have worked at various universities in the UK and India. This summer I will join the ETC Group, the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (  The most recent publication on which I have worked together as part of a collective is:  Everyday Experts: How people’s knowledge can transform the food system. I am an occasional adviser on public dialogue to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra.

Asha Mohamed and Hinda Mohamed Smith 
co-founders and directors of NOMAD – Nations of Migration Awakening the Diaspora

We thrive in working using participatory practice for example critical participatory action research methodologies, our current role is to develop collective organisational structures, where decision making processes are open and transparent, where power and privilege are questions and challenged with mutual understanding. For more than 14 years we used critical participatory action research mythologies to work with communities who are marginalised and suffering discrimination. In order to make sure community voices heard from our own narrative and perspectives. We believe it’s important to engage and own our stories where it gives people the power to set the agenda in order to make real change. We collectively  researched our lived experiences.l with our communities and published People’s Knowledge…Escaping the White-walled Labyrinth and Unwritten Tales of the Tongue and Becoming A Londoner.

Levente Polyák
urban planner, researcher, community advocate and policy adviser PhD in Sociology, Central European University

In many cities across Europe, community-led urban development projects, offer inclusive housing arrangements, provide social services and environmental solutions or organise innovation ecosystems and solidarity economy networks are pursued by citizen initiatives, helped by territorially organised governance networks. These networks help initiatives join forces and develop mechanisms that enable the connection of stakeholders, the shared management of knowledge, as well as the coordinated distribution of resources. How can mapping local actors and skills help in creating these mechanisms? The proposed intervention brings together pioneering practices of building citizen innovation ecosystems and networks of governance in different regions of Europe.

Dea Vidovic
director of Kultura Nova Foundation, ENACT Board member

Director of Kultura Nova Foundation, public foundation dedicated to civil society organizations in contemporary arts and culture in Croatia. She graduated in Comparative Literature and Indian Studies and earned a PhD in 2012 from the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. For more than fifteen years of her professional engagement in culture, she worked as a manager, editor, journalist and researcher. Her professional trajectory was built on numerous collaborations with institutions on local, national and international levels. The academic aspect of her professional engagement has been developing through regular publishing and editing of both scientific and expert books, papers and articles on contemporary cultural practices, as well as through delivering of lectures and presentations at various discursive events.

Miguel Jaenicke Fontao Getxo
PhD in Architecture at the ETSAM, UPM in 2015.  Degree in Philosophy at the UNED University in 2014. Master of Planning and Sustainable Territorial Development by the Faculty of Geography of the UAM in 2010

He is founding partner of estudio [SIC] a widely awarded and recognized architectural firm. He is co-creator of [VIC] Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas, an open and collaborative project of urban research, oriented to disseminate, analyze and support citizen initiatives and critical processes with the aim of promoting innovation and urban empowerment through transfers of social innovation to the public space. Also develops CIVICs, an open interactive digital mapping tool which gather and display social and citizen innovation globally.